Wednesday, November 30, 2005

bottled inspiration

why, why, why must steve and the conservatives bring up the gay marriage thing again in this election? they ran with that on their platform last time, they lost, the party that won passed it, and now they want to go back and change it? it is a democracy people, might as well get used to it - you don't just go back and change things again and again. otherwise why don't we get rid of the gst and pull out of nafta while we are at it?

i managed to find my inspiration to get working on term papers. i love when you come across some interesting information and can't write it down fast enough. i forgot how i love to pour through articles and pile the books up on the side of my desk as proof of how much i have accomplished. i think my brain works better when i take off my shoes and put my feet on my chair. i love shoes but i take them off at any chance i get.

yesterday i learned that if you live in your own tiny room that has rather sound proof walls, you can chew gum and make smacking sounds as loudly as you like. i have never done this before because i hate listening to other people chew, but it was actually... sort... of... fun. and seemed to help me concentrate.

Monday, November 28, 2005

guest columnist

Sara says:
ok, so this story is an only in canada/calgary

I was driving home today and something catches my eye.

this guy has a dead deer in his flat bed strapped to a quad driving down glenmore

a deer, seriously on the road, in the city

I was trying to get closer and check it out better

and then school buses are all around and I am thinking oh no, the kids are going to think it is a reindeer

it was gross and funny at the same time, I just kept thinking, only in calgary I am sure

circle of friends

our kitchen is effectively christmas-ised and looks really warm and cozy. we had such a great time decorating and it was nice to spend time with the girls from my flat, including our honourary flatmate!

the christmas party was a success and i hope that it did a little to get all our guests into the spirit.

good thing my ani difranco cd arrived today. just the kind of music i am in need of today. and you know it is never good when you need ani.

like all the others, this too shall pass.

Friday, November 25, 2005

all in a day's work

today i learned that in the uk molasses is called treacle.

today i bought a pointsettia and named her cindy lu.

today i joined the town's public library.

today i ate a butterscotch crepe in the middle of a french market.

it was a good day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

like pedro said, it is all about skills

a friend came to me with a hard question about a tough situation today. perhaps because i was the first person they could ahold of or because it was convenient, but whatever the reason i felt really good that they felt comfortable enough to tell me about it knowing that i would not be judgemental and would provide whatever information i had. which is exactly what i did.

perhaps what i was most proud of at the end of the conversation was that i have faith that this person has all the skills necessary to find their way through the dilemma and that i am lucky enough to have so many people in my life who are so capable and yet are willing to say that sometimes they don't have a clue.

i feel the same way everyday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

i have become nocturnal

i have got to stop having naps between 7:30pm and 9:30pm, my days and nights are getting confused.

so much for staying focused and optimising my time.

in need of centering

i feel as though i need to take a deep breath and a few steps back to refocus and prioritise for the busy weeks i will have ahead of me. somehow i managed to fall behind and now i need to redistribute my energies so that none of my courses are neglected. tough stuff when one of them is incredibly fascinating and the two others are not as inspiring.

unfortunately, this means that i need to cancel my work out non-date and better manage my time. no reading my book (which i am almost done), no knitting mittens, no more baking cookies...

have you seen the movie Downfall? well, you should. you know a good movie when you can sit through two and a half hours and not feel as though you are counting down the minutes until it is over. makes war look real while at the same time emphasising the surreality of it all. i am unquestionably no nazi sympathiser, but i do think that it is easy to condemn the people on the fringes in hindsight. makes me wonder if those of my generation can even conceive what is seemingly inconceivable. watch it, then let's talk about the amazing actor that played hitler.

mobilise the troops

this photo cracks me up...

don't you wonder what they are thinking? stephen is up to something and is trying to sit fancy so that no one will pick up on his smirk and paul is trying to be cool and pretend that he doesn't know anyone is watching.

an election is on the way, interesting times in canadian federal politics.

Monday, November 21, 2005

the spirit is in the air

the cookies turned out marvelously and i even ran some down to my canadian neighbour in my slippers to spread the christmas baking spirit. sometimes i love living in residence.

i even had an assistant baker who helped me whip the butter and sugar by hand, as that gets tiring if it is a one person job.

and i had more than enough chocolate chips, so i ate the leftovers because what else do you do with a few handfuls of chooclate chips?

the dollar hit a new high yesterday, 2.02 dollars to 1 pound!

london fog

today was so foggy, i don't remember fog like this since i was wee (that is scottish for little!). sort of nice.

since when did i age rapidly and sit around and talk about the weather with such regularity?!

but really, the fog deserves a mention.

so does the lack of chocolate chips in this one horse town. is "one horse town" a canadian phrase? sounds rather western now that i think about it. it is what my sister and i call cochrane cause there really is this one statue of a horse.

when i attended a jann arden concert once she mentioned how ridiculous it is that alberta has a town called cochrane AND one called balzac, which really is quite funny when you think about it.

but how is a girl expected to make chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips? that is like a pb&j without the pb.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

easy like sunday morning

my favourite thing to do on a sunday is have breakfast with friends and this morning i got to do just that. wonderful french toast paired with wonderful conversation.

i went to leeds yesterday, a nice place with an industrial charm. and tonnes of people, but that is nothing new, there are 60 million people crammed on to this tiny island and northern ireland.

can a person learn how to patient? anyone have any tips? i am realising more and more everyday what an impatient person i am. i once had a boss who said that people who were patient were not dynamic, so maybe i should embrace my impatience and make it work to my advantage. i bought a cadbury's advent calendar that is sitting in front of me, making me impatient for december to hurry up and start so i can eat some chocolate!

yesterday was the coldest i have been so far in england. it is definitely winter but i like the crispness (is that a word?) of the air when there are no clouds and the sun is shining and you can see your breath.

today i learned that the korean war was in fact not an act of collective security. yesterday i learned how to put my cds on itunes. tomorrow i hope to learn how to bake cookies, prepare a presentation, and work out all in the same night.

Friday, November 18, 2005

collecting the post

i got a package today, my first care package and it consisted of post-it notes, white out, a chocolate bar, and the most hilarious card i have seen in a long time. so hilarious in fact that i am going to try and recreate it for you here:

outside: a photo of 2 fancy old ladies sitting on a park bench with the words "Is it' butt naked' or 'buck naked'?"
inside: These are the kinds of questions I come to you for.

ok, i realise that this is not half as funny without this picture of this two old bitties on the front, but ask me sometime and i will show it to you and i guarantee you will laugh out loud. thank you sara for sending me such nice goodies along with the hilarious card and to taylor and hunter for the other cute card!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

tasteless pub food and shortbread biscuits

yet another wonderful day yesterday, makes me wonder when a crappy day is on its way.

i visited with my auntie and nana in liverpool for lunch and tea. i stopped at a lovely street florist on the way and bought some flowers and felt so metropolitan riding the train with my bouquet.

i love giving gifts. perhaps because it makes me feel good. maybe that is why i love christmas so much. i also love receiving gifts, especially when my auntie empties the change from her wallet and gives it to me because 'students don't have very much money,' then she insisted that i take a taxi instead of take a 2 minute walk.

even for someone who strives for new levels of independence, it is nice to be taken care of once in awhile.

my newest thing that i know is that my nana doesn't eat poultry either, i wonder if it was built into my genes?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

foggy specs

i will take cold and sunny over rainy and blowy anyday and last night really proved that. i had my winter coat on, hood up, mittens on, and was all zipped up, just like you do at home to stay warm. BUT, regardless of all this my pants were wet, the wind blew the rain right into my face so i had to take my glasses off rendering me eyesight rather fuzzy, and my mittens were soaking wet. and all this during a 5 minute walk home from the gym.

i have corrected more than a few people in the past days about the difference between the words 'eskimo' and 'inuit.' someone also tried to explain to me what lacrosse was too. i can't blame people's ignorances, especially because no one is immune to the phenomena of ignorance, but it gets tiresome.

i learned another new thing today. perhaps didn't learn it so much as realise it:

i cannot get frustrated over all the talk of theories in my course that all lead me to believe the entire population of the earth is doomed, because in the realm of theories it is our job to analyse and reanalyse and make arguments and pick apart arguments and discuss and discuss and discuss. although i love thinking big thoughts and making my brain wrap itself around a theory, i am a do-er. i don't think that academic study for the sake of academic study is very useful unless you DO something with it. but now is not yet the time and here is not the place. all in good time.

i still think the world is doomed. in a rather hopeful way, if that is possible.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?

i went to a town in the lake district today and visited a museum full of stuff that in canada would be considered Really Old, i love history. the town was the centre of the wool industry in england at one point and then that damn cotton replaced it. still lots of sheep in the countryside, looks like a fairy tale.

i had my first crumpet today. spongy, rubbery, and delicious.

i also managed to lose a pair of mittens, find a pair of mittens, lose a return train ticket, get home without a ticket, and pay almost $5 for tomatoes; a big day for stupid mistakes and inexplicable luck.

and i have committed myself to cheering jerome and the boys on in torino, italy. i have even secured a team canada jersey for the event. would anyone like to join me in supporting the true north strong and free?? the more the merrier, i hope that we can get on the cbc!

Friday, November 11, 2005

one creepy cat

today was a lovely day despite giant raindrops and gale force wind: a nice walk near the sea, cup of earl grey in a tea house, my first dinner guest, and a movie at the uni cinema.

i was so nervous for my first dinner guest, butterflies in my stomach and everything. i was quite worried that a) i would not have enough food, b) i would ruin the salmon as i have never really cooked it all by myself, or c) that my dinner guest, a fellow canadian, would be deathly allergic to basil or parsley or asparagus. it is common etiquette to warm someone if you have a serious aversion or allergy to a certain food? i think it should be if it is not already.

the dinner turned out wonderfully and i impressed even myself with the way it all worked together so well. i even set the table nicely and had a compliment on my cooking... i bet some of you never would have predicted that!

after dinner we went to see charlie and the chocolate factory. that johnny depp is fascinatingly weird, or should i say willy wonka? an entertaining movie, especially the musical oompa loompa scenes! i love a packed theatre.

i observed my two minutes of silence in the library with all the other library goers today. didn't it used to be one minute? i didn't mind at all, nice to have a moment of clarity.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

alone time is the best time for learning new things

i had an alone day today and it was refreshing. i took the train to manchester and although i had good intentions of seeing what the city had to offer in terms of culture and activities, i must admit i spent most of the day doing my favourite pastime, second only to! it must be noted that the weather was crap and my hair was growing exponentially with each minute i stayed in the wet drizzle.

it is far too easy to be fashionable here and i discovered a store that is similar to old navy in price (maybe even cheaper) but more like zara in trendy knock-offs. after i fought off the women with strollers, the girls with the giant fake fur vests, and visited the fitting rooms a total of three times, i made off with some rather fabulous things. tomorrow i will go back to learning about how western developed countries consume too much and the guilt will start pouring over me. i will wait until then to start reconciling it.

another observation about the uk: there are very few independent booksellers, coffee shops, restaurants, or bars. they are all part of chains that are found in every city all over this tiny island. makes finding a cozy spot to curl up with a latte and a good book quite difficult. i passed by the starbucks today and the chai latte was literally calling my name. i went into the store, saw that it would cost over $5 for the smallest size, and told that little voice to shut up and that i can wait until december.

seeing as this site is all about the things i know and the things i am learning i will share a lesson i learned the hard way today: when trying to produce less waste and carry fewer bags by refusing the bags that every shop offers you, it is best to double bag things, otherwise the handles of the cheap plastic bag will disintegrate and you will be left carrying your parcel in your arms for the walk from the bus stop to your house.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

new thoughts to think

my faith in my academic program was renewed today. i was feeling a bit discouraged and unmotivated with all this talk of theories and no examples of the real world. but after a rather fascinating discussion in one of my lectures today, i am reinvigorated. my brain hurts in that way that your muscles hurt after a good workout. and who would have thought that knowing who Lloyd Axworthy is would have ever been so impressive! a time to feel rather proud of my country and the progress made in human security.

my day was brightened due to the arrival of FIVE pieces of mail. two more of the books i was expecting, some bank junk, and a card with a tea bag contraption from my mom, it all made me smile. even the bank stuff because it said that i was approved for a credit card! now i just have to figure out how this tea bag contraption works.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

the quintessentially english experience of the indian curry house all-you-can-eat buffet

i went for an all-you-can-eat indian buffet last night and it was delicious. when eating on a budget, it is important that meals are cheap, tasty, and filling and the indian buffet really meets are those requirements. it is puzzling how britain seems to have adopted curry as their national dish, and the same men and women sitting down to eat their chicken tikka and naan will complain about the number of immigrants allowed into the uk every year.

the concern with immigration and immigrants is troublesome to me. maybe because that idea of a cultural mosaic that we learned about in grade seven social studies really stuck. maybe because i come from a country with more than enough space. maybe because i realise that the issue is so much larger than simply immigrants taking locals’ jobs. this situation in paris is not helping though. so sad and disheartening.

i successfully averted a plant-related crisis when penelope’s flowers were all droopy and so sad looking, i thought her next stop would be the garbage can, but i filled her up with water and in a few minutes she was perky again. close call.

Friday, November 04, 2005

nobody likes a stinky foot

i love pilates, especially the tightness and soreness the next day. i tried a class here yesterday and it consisted of swinging our arms around our bodies like we were bored little kids for 10 minutes while being reminded to breath in and out. then the teacher tells all of us who have not done the class a minimum of three times that we must only do the exercises half way, all while she wanders about the room with her little aerobic microphone on. what a waste of a pound forty five. and to make the whole experience even more distasteful, the mat that i was using smelt like feet. (smelled or smelt? i get this grammar rule confused) i am officially a yoga mat snob and really don't mind.

in other news, i bought a basil plant so that i don't have to throw the last half out of the package of basil because i cannot manage to eat it quickly enough. how much basil can one person possibly eat in a week? i will name him sherlock and i hope that he and penelope thrive in the windowsill. as long as they are not watered too often. i also bought a parsley plant because they were on some buy-one-get-one-cheap dealy and everyone knows how i love a deal! the parsley plant is yet to be named, suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

one hit wonder??

this morning on the radio they played kd lang's constant craving during their "one hit wonder" show. kd lang, one hit wonder? i beg to differ.

they just don't know what that albertan girl has accomplished. clearly, they missed her barefoot performance at alberta's 100th birthday.

i am listening to hymns of the 49th parallel to prove a point. and because i like it.

on this rainy day, i could use a little alberta sunshine and a nice hot coffee in a small coffee shop with some heart warming conversation and soul rejuvenating laughter.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

more than just maple syrup

i went out to have a beer with two canadians tonight, the only two that i have met and it was nice to sit around and talk about molson, the cbc, and terry fox. it was also nice to find out that someone else has a not-so-secret crush on david suzuki.

i think i am becoming addicted to online shopping. when they british are not text messaging, they are making online purchases and i now understand the inescapable pleasure in the search, the credit card details, the shipping address. some things are actually cheaper online and the anticipation of a package in the mail is reason enough to spend the money!

tonight i bought 3 used books - the constant gardener (i was left wanting more after the film), white teeth (zadie smith), and 44 scotland street (alexander mccall smith, to honour my recent trip to edinburgh and my newest favourite city). i will prepare progress reports on my enjoyment of each.

speaking of books, i must recommend The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni, a delight. i am going to start giving out book awards and this book is the first recipient of the Quarterman Distinction.

at one point in the story a character worries that she is so happy that one day she may wake up to realise that the happiness is over. i am really relating to that sentiment right now. i suppose in the grand scheme, it is not a bad place to be.

a fresh cup of tea awaits...